Office of INTERCULTURAL LEARNING

Vietnam Bắc Sơn Valley

SU Vietnam Program

Life, Literacy, and Culture in Northern Vietnam

Sa Pa, Vietnam

 

Southwestern University, in collaboration with SIT, has created a program in Sa Pa, Vietnam specifically designed for Southwestern students.  The SU Vietnam Program is a four-week, four-credit program for students interested in receiving credit in English, as well as in civic engagement, social justice, tourism and environmentalism, and literacy and empowerment in a global context.

Students apply to Southwestern, not to SIT, directly.

Dates

Hanoi, VietnamHanoi, VietnamApplication Deadline: February 1st

Program Start Date: May 13th

Program End Date: June 12th

Cost

The tentative cost for this three-week program is $5,140.

The program cost includes:

  • Tuition for four credits
  • Housing in small hotels and/or guesthouses — homestay during two overnight trekking excursions
  • Meals: all meals provided during orientation.  Some meals provided throughout rest of the program (i.e. breakfast at hotels, meals with homestays, and group lunches/dinners).  When meals are not provided, a stipend will be issued to purchase food
  • Dedicated support from an SIT study abroad program director
  • Day-to-day support from SIT staff for health/safety concerns, cultural questions, housing issues, or other personal needs
  • Medical insurance
  • Assistance with pre-departure preparation
  • Airport pickup/drop-off and transfer
  • Ground transportation in Vietnam
  • Orientation program, including cultural activities, health/safety briefings, activities in Hanoi, introductions to Vietnamese culture and other topics
  • Four guest lectures on topics related to the academic program
  • Visits to sites of interest in Hanoi and Sa Pa
  • Two overnight trekking excursions to ethnic minority villages outside of Sa Pa, including homestay accommodation
  • Half-day reentry session on last day of program
  • Cell phones

The program cost does not include:

  • International airfare to and from Vietnam: students are responsible for their own flight arrangements
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Personal expenses: Internet café, dining out, toiletries, activities, snacks, personal travel, etc.

Courses

The SU Vietnam Program is a four-week, one-course, four-credit program.  Students enroll in Life, Literacy, and Culture in Northern Vietnam as an advanced writing class (ENG10-334).  This course, led by SU Associate Professor of English, Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton, encompasses civic engagement, social justice, tourism and environmentalism, and literacy and empowerment in a global context. 

In this course, students will gain knowledge about Northern Vietnamese culture, while also learning about the H’mong culture through interactions with the H’mong community in Sa Pa.  Students will also participate in volunteer work at the Learning Center at Sapa O’Chau, an NGO that provides educational opportunities to ethnic minority children in the Sa Pa region.  Additionally, students will have the opportunity to learn from various guest lecturers comprised of local experts.

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Housing & Meals

Students will be housed in small hotels and/or guesthouses for the majority of their stay in Vietnam.  During the two overnight trekking excursions to ethnic minority villages outside of Sa Pa, students will stay with homestays.

All meals will be provided during orientation.  Some meals will be provided throughout the rest of the program (i.e. breakfasts at hotels, meals with homestays, and group lunches/dinners).  When meals are not provided, a stipend will be issued to purchase food.

Cultural Activities & Excursions

Sa Pa, VietnamSa Pa, VietnamThe program begins with a three-day orientation held in Hanoi, Vietnam.  This period includes cultural orientation sessions, guest lectures, visits to local sites of interest, and time for reflection.  Students will have the opportunity to adapt to being in Vietnam before beginning the academic portion of the program. 

The orientation period will also include a day trip to Ha Long Bay, a coastal area of spectacular beauty, designated in 1994 as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Students will have an opportunity to explore this beautiful location by kayak while learning about and reflecting upon the impact of tourism on this highly-visited destination.

Students will participate in two weekend treks to ethnic minority villages in the vicinity of Sa Pa.  They will visit a H’mong village and a Red Dao village, staying with homestays on each visit.

The excursion to Central Vietnam offers students an opportunity to expand their perspectives on Vietnamese culture and history.  The group will stay in the city of Hue and will spend time there and in the nearby ancient town of Hoi An.

In Hoi An, students can learn about Vietnamese history through visits to the 17th-century, preserved homes and to My Son, home to relics of the Champa civilization (7th - 19th Centuries).  They will learn about the decline of Champa, vestiges of which remain evident in the Cham ethnic group in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

In Hue, the group will continue to learn about the ethnic diversity of Vietnam through a session on cultural heritages in Hue.  Students will visit historic sites in Hue, the last royal city of Vietnam.  They will also take day trips to local villages home to different ethnic minority populations: the Cotu in Nam Thong or the Bru and Ta Oi people in Aluoi.  While in Aluoi, a former battlefield of the Vietnam War, students will have the opportunity to learn about the history and legacy of this conflict.  While in Hue, it may also be possible for students to share a meal or an afternoon activity with local Vietnamese students.   

Apply Now

Click here to apply now.

Southwestern University Faculty Contact

Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton

Associate Professor of English

p: 512.863.1415

e: piedmone@southwestern.edu